INDIANAPOLIS – Denver swept Summit League Tennis Player of the Year honors as Yannik James earned the men's award and Maureen Slattery was named the women's recipient when the league announced its awards Thursday evening.
Newcomer of the Year honors went to Omaha's Razvan Grigorescu and Western Illinois' Natalia Bravo. Denver coaches Ricardo Rubio (men) and Christian Thompson (women) earned Coach of the Year accolades.
James recorded a combined 3-0 Summit League record, including a pair of wins at No. 1 singles. Ranked as the ITA's No. 87 doubles tandem alongside teammate Alex Gasson, James posted a league-best 2-0 doubles mark at the No. 1 position. The senior shares The Summit League's all-time record for career winning percentage with a 17-0 mark during intraleague singles matches. James, a three-time Summit League Player of the Week selection this season, is the fourth consecutive Denver player to earn the league's top men's award.
Slattery went 5-0 in Summit League singles matches this season, including four wins at No. 2 and a victory at No. 1. The two-time Summit League Player of the Week selection also posted a combined 5-0 league record at the No. 1 doubles position, teaming with Julia O'Loughlin for three wins and Sonja Radosevic for two more victories. Slattery and O'Loughlin hold the ITA's No. 15 national doubles ranking.
Grigorescu, currently ranked by the ITA as the nation's No. 87 singles player, posted a 3-1 record at No. 1 singles during his freshman campaign. A four-time Summit League Player of the Week selection, he also teamed for a 3-1 league mark at No. 1 doubles.
Bravo is the first Western Illinois player in history to earn an individual women's tennis award. She compiled a 5-1 record at No. 2 singles as a freshman and was named league Player of the Week on April 4.
Rubio received his first Coach of the Year award after guiding the Pioneers to a 4-0 Summit League record for the school's fourth consecutive regular season title. Denver won all four of its league matches by identical 7-0 scores.
Thompson became the first Summit League coach since 2009 to earn consecutive Coach of the Year honors. She guided the Pioneers, currently ranked No. 45 in the ITA national poll, to a perfect 6-0 league record while outscoring opponents, 42-0.
Denver and Oral Roberts led the way with four men's all-league selections each with Diogo Rocha (4-0 in Summit League singles) and Jesse Ruder-Hook (3-0) joining Gasson (3-0) and James as the Pioneers representatives. ORU placed Kenneth Allen Boykin (3-1), Barnabas Koncz (2-2), Jan Pehnec (2-2), and Amar Saletovic (3-1). Including Grigorescu, Omaha totaled three honorees with Louis-Jonas Heizlsperger (3-1) and Nathan Reekie (3-1). IUPUI's David Beasley (2-2) rounded out the squad.
Led by Slattery and O'Loughlin (5-0), regular season champion Denver had with six women's all-league honorees, including Claire Koke (5-0), Arisha Ladhani (6-0), Bianca Mok (5-0), and Sonja Radosevic (6-0). Regular season runner-up South Dakota garnered a trio of awards from Ellie Burns (3-3), Barbora Kollarova (5-1) and Nanette Nylund (4-1). Bravo, Omaha's Michelle Lo (4-2), and Oral Roberts' Petya Simeonova (5-1) completed the squad.
The 2017 Summit League Championships are hosted by IUPUI and will be played April 28-29 at the West Indy Racquet Club and UIndy Tennis Center sites in Indianapolis.
Men's All-Summit Team
David Beasley, IUPUI
Kenneth Allen Boykin, Oral Roberts
Alex Gasson, Denver
Razvan Grigorescu, Omaha
Louis-Jonas Heizlsperger, Omaha
Yannik James, Denver
Barnabas Koncz, Oral Roberts
Jan Pehnec, Oral Roberts
Nathan Reekie, Omaha
Diogo Rocha, Denver
Jesse Ruder-Hook, Denver
Amar Saletovic, Oral Roberts
Player of the Year: Yannik James, Denver
Newcomer of the Year: Razvan Grigorescu, Omaha
Coach of the Year: Ricardo Rubio, Denver
Women's All-Summit Team
Natalia Bravo, Western Illinois
Ellie Burns, South Dakota
Claire Koke, Denver
Barbora Kollarova, South Dakota
Arisha Ladhani, Denver
Michelle Lo, Omaha
Bianca Mok, Denver
Nanette Nylund, South Dakota
Julia O'Loughlin, Denver
Sonja Radosevic, Denver
Petya Simeonova, Oral Roberts
Maureen Slattery, Denver
Women's Player of the Year: Maureen Slattery, Denver
Women's Newcomer of the Year: Natalia Bravo, Western Illinois
Women's Coach of the Year: Christian Thompson, Denver
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.
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